Skip to data download

HydroSHEDS Core layers (version 1)

The core data products of HydroSHEDS are a series of gridded datasets at different spatial resolutions. They are designed for use in hydro-environmental model development and cutom GIS applications. The core data products provide hydrographic baseline information and do not include any thematic or attribute information.

The core data products of HydroSHEDS v1 are derived primarily from the SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) digital elevation model at a resolution of 3 arc-seconds (~90 meters at the equator), with some custom-modifications. As no SRTM data exist for regions above 60° northern latitude, the core products of HydroSHEDS v1 in this region are based on the coarser and lower-quality HYDRO1k elevation model (1-km resolution) and are unavailable at the highest (3 arc-second) resolution.

The core data products of HydroSHEDS v1 are:

  • A void-filled digital elevation model underpinning HydroSHEDS v1 (DEM)
  • A hydrologically conditioned version of the digital elevation model (CON)
  • A drainage direction map derived from the conditioned elevation data (DIR)
  • A flow accumulation map derived from the flow direction map, either as number of upstream grid cells (ACC) or as upstream area (ACA)
  • A flow length map derived from the flow direction map, either measured in upstream direction (LUP) or in downstream direction (LDN)
  • A landmask grid which indicates the land-ocean distribution and the location of coastal and inland sinks (MSK)

The datasets are offered in resolutions of 3, 15, and 30 arc-seconds as well as 5 and 6 arc-minutes (see Technical Documentation for more details on which product is available at what resolution).

Overview of HydroSHEDS products in South America, showing the river network for the entire continent (centre), as well as progressively smaller nested river basins and sub-basins ranging from the Amazon river basin (top left), to a watershed of a tributary river in the Upper Madre de Dios Basin (bottom right).

Technical Documentation

For more information on the core products of HydroSHEDS v1 please refer to the HydroSHEDS Technical Documentation.


The core products of HydroSHEDS v1 are freely available for scientific, educational and commercial use. The data are distributed under a specific license agreement that is included in the HydroSHEDS Technical Documentation. For all regulations regarding license grants, copyright, redistribution restrictions, required attributions, disclaimer of warranty, indemnification, liability, and waiver of damages, please refer to the license agreement.

By downloading and using the data the user agrees to the terms and conditions of the license agreement.


Lehner, B., Verdin, K., Jarvis, A. (2008). New global hydrography derived from spaceborne elevation data. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 89(10): 93–94.

Data download

Visit the HydroSHEDS core data downloads page.

Hello! This window is too narrow to display the downloads. Please resize the window. If you are on mobile, please visit our site on a computer.